day 170
nogales, arizona

"Did that man have a machete?" -a.
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Bordering on Extorsion:
Purchased: 2 Coke, 2 Juice
Actual Price: 24 pesos
They Charged Us: 40 pesos
Paid with: 50 peso bill
Got Back: 5 peso coin

Disclaimer: Just before crossing the border, we stopped at a mini-mart in preparation for the long wait. This is the first time we've gotten bluntly screwed out of money in Mexico. We were so amused it was happening, we didn't even ask for our money back. Too funny.

One Last Mexico Moment
Top Five Things About Mexico:
5. Sopa Tarasca
4. Julio's Taco Stand
3. The Old Man Dance
2. Limonada
1. Those Cute Little Upside-down Question Marks
Bottom Five Things About Mexico:
5. Corn Tortillas
4. Diahhrea
3. Quotas
2. Crooked Cops
1. Getting Gringo-Screwed
One more for good measure.

Feb 12 - Boy, the second you cross that border, they sure let you know you're back.

On the Mexico side of Nogales, there's a gi-normous line of cars, trucks and buses waiting for clearance, and we were in one of those lines for some time. We were very thankful to be in the car line, actually, since the truck line started a good 20 minutes drive back into the city. God knows how long most of them were waiting. The ones closer to the front may have been in line before God showed up.

But, after a bit of a wait, and a handful of vendors had knocked on our window, we were finally at the front. We pulled up to the window, expecting the worst.

"Oh, Canadians! Hiya!" said the border guard, with a smile bigger than some of the parking dudes at Disneyworld. We handed him our passports, he glanced at them for a moment. "Any fruits or veggies?"

"Um, I think we have a couple of avocados," we recalled from our visit to Alfonso's farm.

"Okee doke, I'm just gonna have to get you to scoot on over to the aggie section over there," (aggie meaning agriculture), "and take out the pits. Have a good one!" He glanced in the back seat, knocked on the doors a couple times (a hard-earned technique to check for hidden panels, I guess) and sent us over.

The 'Aggie' people were just as friendly. A girl with a cheerful rapport took our avodacos, put them in a little baggie (an aggie baggie), and waved us on.

That was it? Did you see the back of our jeep? We could have had three Mexicans hidden under the sleeping bags and a milk crate of weed under the dry foods bin! They didn't even ask us where we were going, or where we'd been! We get grilled more than that at the Canadian border for going across for gas.

Again I say, longest unprotected border my ass.

The only explanation we could think of: the last thing an American wants when he comes back from Mexico is to be hassled by his own countrymen, so, maybe the border has been told to lighten up for Canadians and Americans. After all, they've just been through the harrowing ordeal of driving on Mexican roads, getting stopped by Mexican police, getting Gringo-screwed by Mexican merchants... isn't it nice to be back in America? Where the people love you? We do, you know. Yeessss. Sleep, my precious. Sleep. It's alright. You're back now. It's all going to be okay. Look, see? There's an International House of Pancakes right over there. Go have a pancake, instead of those nasty corn tortillas. Yeesssss...

And that we did. Even the staff at the IHOP had a good chunk of glad-to-have-you-backness like the border folk. Our server, Shane, best described in a word as 'militant', would go to no end to ensure we were happy, fulfilled and well-served.

"How are you today? Is there anything else I can get for you? Would you like some more coffee? Your food will be ready in a moment." He even called me "sir".

At one point, I said "gracias", I think when he brought out the waters. "Sorry, I don't speak Spanish," he responded. "That's okay, neither do I," was my answer. But after a moment's consideration, I thought, hey wait a minute: everyone speaks Gracias. I'll bet he tries to throw that line in every chance he gets, for the one in five Americans who will say, "Oh thank goodness!" and cry with joy.

But it was still a nice touch.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed Mexico a ton. However, I do appreciate a good chit-chat as much as the next guy, and when you're exploring Mexico with no Spanish ability whatsoever, chit-chat is a little hard to come by.

And so's an English newspaper. Boy oh boy, it sure was nice to come back to America and see what's going on in the rest of the world...

cake strikes again...

There's a long line of cars and it's trying to get through

There's no simple explanation there's no central destination

But this long line of cars is trying to get through

And this long line of cars is all because of you
more photos in the archive...

Current Location
(get out your push pins)

Nogales, AZ

Next Stop: Flagstaff, AZ

see the full map...

Today's Weather:
Warm, Welcoming

Daily Stats
Gas: 400p + $22

The Road Back...
Federale Searches: 6
Agriculture Stops:3
Quota Stops: 5
Quota Payments: 138p

National Parks Pass...
Location:Saguaro N.F.
Savings Today:$6.00
Total Savings:$123.00

Sleeping Quarters
Peppersauce Campground

After Patagonia State Park was found to be full, and Catalina State Park was found to be full, and the weird little tipi cabins at the Oracle Lock and Key was far too expensive, and the Spencer Canyon State Park was too hard to find, we finally found our way to Peppersauce campground. It was at the end of a washboard dirt road of the quality we'd expect to find in Mexico. And we thought we'd left all that behind us...

Cost: $8.00

Treble Park Motel
Kevin:Maple Oatmeal
Aimee:Maple Cinnamon Oatmeal
On the Road
Mexico 15 Quota
Shared:Dried Fruit
Nogales, USA
K's Order:Western Omelette, Pancakes
A's Order:Side of Fries

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© 2002. Kevin Beimers and Aimee Lingman. Hunnerdfortymileanhour.